The Harrison County Commissioners Court proceeded with its fourth round of budget hearings, last week, listening to the requests of County Court-at-Law Judge Joe Black and more from the sheriff’s office, for the upcoming fiscal year.

Black said he’s coming to the court, for the fifth year, asking to reclassify his staff.

“These two secretaries work their tails off,” said Black.

He said he values his staff, who even through the COVID-19 pandemic still kept his office afloat. Judge Black said he’s not asking to create a new level. He’s just asking to move it from a secretary level to a court coordinator position.

Judge Black also requested to replace the witness chair in his courtroom, as well as the distressed 14 jury box chairs.

“Of course we’d love to see raises, but we understand times are hard on everyone,” said Black.

In his requests for the sheriff’s office, Lt. Hilton Poindexter said he’s lowering the yearly K-9 expense from $21,500 to his original request of $10,000.

“It’s more than sufficient,” he said.

He said on the main jail salary, he’d like to promote the administrative sergeant to the rank of administrative lieutenant.

“That’ll be a five percent raise,” he pointed out, noting it’s a difference of $1,999.85 and will move the annual salary to $41,856.85.

Lt. Poindexter said the sheriff’s office is also asking for an additional patrol deputy. The office currently has four shifts. The goal is to have six deputies on each shift. Poindexter said he thinks the addition will help with the influx of calls for service.

“The call volume is high,” he said. “Harrison County is a big county.”

For the main jail staff, he asked for two adult detention officers.

“We’re trying to move the jail to 12-hour shifts,” said Poindexter.

He said the move to 12-hour shifts would allow the staff to be able to have some needed weekend time off with their families and loved ones.

Poindexter said they hope the change would attract more applicants.

Thus, he said they’re advertising the position for 12-hour shifts with every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday off.

“I do think it’ll help in recruitment and retention,” said Poindexter.